Grandparents Want to Know…
Category : Blog
BHSM, Day 17, 2016
Each week, friends of mine who are now grandparents ask me, “What should I do, I don’t think, [insert grandchild’s name] is talking enough? or What should I do I can’t understand anything my [insert grandchild’s name] says? And then, the real question, “How can I approach this with my son/daughter and their spouses without upsetting them?” In this scenario, I am often the FACILITATOR.
To be sure, grandparents, teachers and yes, even physicians are often in this same situation. How to broach a sensitive topic without upsetting or offending the child’s parents? Clearly, it is important to approach the situation in such a way that the parental views and family or professional boundaries are respected and appreciated.
For me, the best route begins by learning more about the concerns and then tailoring a packet of educational links related to the communication concerns, developmental milestones, educational expectations, and appropriate public resources such as The American Speech-Hearing-Language Association (ASHA). My goals are to help the grandparents share information with the parents, to be available to speak with and help the parents understand speech-language and communication development, and ensure the best plan for each child and family.
As an SLP who has been working in pediatrics for more than 35 years, I am a firm believer in early identification and intervention, the value of educating others about the ins and outs of being an SLP, and the potential benefits SLP services for each child’s needs. I always share that the SLP Evaluation is based on “play-typed activities” for the younger child, is not painful (no shots here), and worth the time to have an expert in the field of SLP be the one to determine if all is on track, or if SLP services may be beneficial. I invite each child to bring a snack, a drink and a favorite book, toy or game. As my training at Emory University taught me, I should be able to evaluate a child based on the “tools” I have at hand. Yes, formal testing is valuable and necessary, but not the sole tool for understanding the needs of a child who comes to see me. It may take several “visits” but with family input and a well conducted first appointment, I am able to help guide the family through the suggested plan.
I believe parents hesitate for many reasons, but with the right conversation would prefer to seek help, sleep better, stop wondering, and be proactive. I spend many hours assisting parents in maneuvering through the maze of options often restricted by insurance, school choices, family calendars, and life in general. At this Center, I know that while every child can not be seen by me, every child can be seen by an experienced, licensed and ASHA-certified SLP.
In my eyes, grandparents deserve a huge “Thank you!” for helping to initiate SLP services, scheduling and providing transportation to SLP sessions, for financially assisting, for participating in the SLP program, and most of all for their genuine love for their grandchild/ren and family.
To learn more be sure to read this article, “How to Raise Concerns about a Child’s Speech and Language Development: Dos and Don’ts” shared by ASHA and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which provides excellent suggestions on this topic.
Another powerful day in the life of this SLP,
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